Feeding hope: the tough choices behind fitting non-food items into your budget

A woman receiving paper towels from a food pantry.
February 8, 2016
by Liz Baldridge

Feeding America will always be about fighting hunger and working to stabilize the lives of those we serve. But when I think about all the work Feeding America does, I know it’s more than feeding hungry stomachs, but also feeding hope to those in need.

We all know that life is full of tough choices. And when you’re facing food insecurity, these tough choices are far too frequent. Many times, the people we serve are faced with making the choice to feed their families and put those funds towards the many other needs in life.

Feeding America knows one of these tough choices is when to use limited resources for non-food products such as personal care or household cleaning supplies. Many of these items are essentials to daily life and when to allocated funds towards their purchase can be a tough decision. “In fact, one in three low-income families struggle to afford everyday essentials. We know this from our research study In Short Supply.” Toothpaste, laundry detergent, shampoo – the cost can add up quickly!

We’re so grateful to our many donors who provide these type of product to our network of food banks and help ensure our clients don’t have to make these tough choices quite as often. They know first-hand the positive impact these types of products make on our everyday lives.

But the reality is, the need to great, and access to these types of products is minimal. I believe people shouldn’t have to face the choice between washing their clothes and feeding their family. So my ask of you is to continue to conversation and build awareness, and here at Feeding America we’ll work to do the same as well as continue to foster our relationships with our partners to ensure these types of items are more readily available. And remember, feeding is more than just food.

*Liz Baldridge has been with Feeding America for over five years, working with national manufactures to identify food available for donation. She is a member of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance and is helping lead food recovery initiatives and food waste reduction programs at Feeding America and its partner food banks.

Tags: Innovative Solutions to Hunger , Our Response
 

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